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Gloucester head coach Laurie Fisher to honour traditional values with winning rugby

By The Citizen  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

Laurie Fisher being interviewed by former Gloucester player Thinus Delport last week

Laurie Fisher is aiming to build a winning brand of rugby that honours the traditional values of Gloucester.

Speaking to the Gloucester Citizen for the first time since jetting to England to take the reins of the playing squad, the Australian has outlined his blueprint to reawaken a sleeping giant.

Fisher’s first priority is to make the Cherry and Whites a gritty and resilient team that doesn’t roll over as was seen so often last season.

Then the key is finding balance.

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If he was not fully aware already, the rapturous cheers that greeted tries from rolling mauls last week against Yorkshire Carnegie reasserted the importance of a fearsome pack to the Kingsholm faithful.

There is no point having stellar backs if you cannot win your own ball or generate fast, go-forward possession.

And Fisher, who joined after rejuvenating ACT Brumbies, is determined to build an attractive, all-round game upon solid forward foundations.

He said: “The only target is to make sure we’re an enormously hard team to beat. If we are in the contest every week, home or away, then we will be in a good place.

“I’ve learnt a lot about the traditions and cultures of Gloucester which is most important - you have to make sure you use what’s great about the place and build upon that.

“It’s been really good to speak to people who have been here for a long time and look back at their wonderful history. I’ve learnt a lot and hopefully I can bring a lot to the technical and tactical table.

“We want to play rugby but you have to succeed up front first. I’m not about 10 man rugby or just chucking it out to the backs, you have to get balance in your game.

“The Premiership demands that you can scrummage, maul, defend those plays, recycle ball, use the ball and kick. I believe in balance and we have to get it right.

“They might have struggled up front last season but the players are there and if you apply the right amount of time and content in training you give yourself the best chance of success.

“Gloucester loves a rolling maul, a high-ball, work rate and that’s the essence of the game. The game has changed a lot in the 18 years of professionalism so you can’t play the same rugby but you can still be strong in all areas of the game and that’s our ambition.

“It’s a very different squad to last year, they’ve recruited heavily but the players get on well, they have gelled, they work hard, listen and there’s a lot of experience to draw on but the big challenge is to find our way of playing rugby and all being on the same page.”

Fisher was earmarked and approached by David Humphreys and admits it was a difficult decision to move his family from Canberra.

But he was attracted by those traditional values and just like players moving from Down Under, the lure of competing in Europe.

He said: “When I first came over with Munster it was a hard decision but it was the best thing I have done.

“You are only in the game for a certain amount of time, you could have one experience a thousand times or new experiences which will make me a better person and coach and give us a great family experience as well.

“It was a tough decision because I had time to run there but it’s like being a player, you want to challenge yourself. The Premiership is becoming increasingly harder and for me to come here to a strong club, in a wonderful competition and Europe as well is the big attraction.

“I’ve done a lot in Super Rugby and have enjoyed it but to get back over here and to coach in the Premiership for the first time is an exciting opportunity.

“The attraction was to come to a club that’s traditionally strong, has history, great supporters, backing and players so you are giving yourself the best shot of success.”

Facing his former side will undoubtedly be a special occasion for Fisher but his focus is firmly on the Cherry and Whites and ensuring there is a steady improvement throughout pre-season and beyond, with an opening day trip to Northampton Saints.

He added: “It’s only about what happens on the field and you have to try build a game that will be competitive in the Premiership.

“It’s nice to play with people you know well and to catch up with them but in terms of the game it’s no biggie.

“There were good and bad parts last week but we will be playing against a Munster with a lot of players with a point to prove so we will know more about where we are next week.

“It’s going to take time, we will ebb and flow, have good days and bad days but we will apply ourselves, learn from our errors and get better every week.”

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